What you need to know about the Trans-Pacific Partnership
THE BASIC FACTS ABOUT THE TPP:
● The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is an expansive trade pact being negotiated between countries in the Pacific Rim, including Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, Canada, Mexico and the U.S. Eventually, every Pacific Rim nation may be included.
● Like other trade pacts, the Trans-Pacific Partnership includes provisions related to the environment, labor, agriculture, access to medicines and more.
● Governments of the member nations are looking to conclude the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations soon and are pushing for the pact to be put on the "fast track", meaning that Congress and the American people will get no input on what is contained in the TPP and Congress will have only an up or down vote on whether to approve the far-reaching trade agreement.
- Negotiations are taking place in almost complete secrecy. Access to the content of the pact is limited to a select few government officials, a handful of non-corporate advisers, and more than 600 business executives. No draft texts have been publicly released, which means there has been no meaningful opportunity for public comment or debate. Particularly for a trade pact as expansive as this one, the public must have a chance to engage in the making of this pact.
- Transparency—a basic principle of our democracy—is crucial since the Trans-Pacific Partnership has the potential to affect basically every aspect of our lives. The text of the trade pact and all U.S. proposals, must be publicly released now.
- As trade expands in the Pacific Rim, the potential for trade to damage the environment also expands.
· At risk are some of the most biologically significant and diverse areas of Earth, including Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and Peru’s Amazon rainforest.
- The trade pact must include a strong and binding environment chapter that protects the environment, natural resources and American jobs.
- The chapter must also include legally binding provisions to address some of the region's key conservation issues.
· The illegal timber trade is a major challenge in the Pacific Rim, and deforestation associated with the illegal timber trade is a significant contributor to climate disruption. The environment chapter must include a ban on trade in illegally harvested timber.
· Many Pacific Rim nations engage in trade in illegally taken wildlife or wildlife parts, from animals such as the rhinoceros or tiger. The environment chapter must include a ban on trade in illegally taken wildlife.
· Ecosystems within the Pacific Ocean are threatened by exploitation of commercial fishing. The environment chapter must include binding provisions related to sustainable fisheries management.
- A leaked version of this chapter revealed that this trade pact is replicating an old, failed model of investment that was used in past agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA.
- It gives corporations nearly unbridled power. Language in this chapter allows foreign corporations to sue a government directly for unlimited cash compensation for almost any domestic law—environmental or otherwise—that the corporation argues might hurt its profitability.
- These so-called "investor-state cases" are heard in private and non-transparent tribunals without public comment or participation.
- And corporations are quick to take advantage of this. By the end of 2011, corporations including Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Dow Chemical, and Cargill brought 450 disputes worth hundreds of millions of dollars against the governments of 89 countries.
- These investment rules must be re-written. Foreign corporations should not be allowed to challenge domestic laws and policies in private tribunals, nor should they be allowed to attack policies meant to protect the public interest.
LIQUEFIED NATURAL GAS
- The Trans-Pacific Partnership could provide a floodgate for dirty energy exports like liquefied natural gas, sacrificing our own air and water quality and destroying our treasured natural resources and the climate.
- The trade pact would strip the Department of Energy of its power to regulate and reject exports of natural gas, even if the exports are not in the interest of the public and harm our environment.
- Exporting more natural gas means more fracking in our backyards, near our schools, and next to our hospitals. Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is the dangerous process of drilling deep into the ground, cracking shale rock and injecting chemically laced water into the ground to release natural gas.
- Exporting LNG would also raise domestic energy prices, impacting the middle class and U.S. manufacturing.
- Japan, the single largest importer of LNG in the world, may soon be announcing its entry into the trade pact, creating new demand to produce more gas by fracking.
- The trade deal must not allow for automatic exports of U.S. natural gas. The environment, our climate, and the health of communities are at stake.
- President Obama may soon speed up the negotiation process for the Trans-Pacific Partnership by requesting that Congress approve fast-track, or trade promotion authority, for the pact.
- Fast-track authority limits the role of Congress to casting yes-or-no votes on adoption of the trade pact, limits debate on the trade pact, and forbids amendments. With fast-track, Congress cannot effectively oversee trade negotiations and ensure the contents of our trade pacts promote the public interest.
· Congress should oppose fast-track, an inappropriate mechanism for negotiating trade pacts, especially one as expansive as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
The most effective way to influence a legislator is to call their office directly on the phone and tell them what would like them to do (i.e. oppose the TPP). Say something like:
Hello, My name is _____ I am a constituent calling from _(Town)_. I am calling today to let Congressman/Senator___ know that I am closely following developments on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an expansive trade agreement between the U.S. and 12 Pacific nations which is currently being negotiated without any input from the public or Congress. I am very concerned about the far-reaching negative impacts the TPP could have and I hope Congressman/Senator___ is too. I am calling to ask him to oppose any efforts to evade a much-needed public review of the TPP and to vote against any legislation to fast track the agreement.You can reach Congressman Carney at:DC office: 202-225-4165Wilmington office: 302-691-7333
Senator Carper:Dover office: 302-674-3308DC Office: 202-224-2441
You can also send a prewritten letter to Congressman Carney letting him know that you'll be following his position and expect him to oppose legislation to fast track the TPP by clicking here.
For more even information on the TPP check out this guest article on Huffington Post by the Delaware Riverkeeper Maya Van Rossum: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/maria-rodale/the-transpacific-partners_2_b_4412332.html